I had been contemplating the Stations of the Cross by Giotto from the 14th Century in preparation for Inner Easter. Giotto is known for being the first to paint emotional portraiture and his “Lamentation” is heartbreaking. I was also wondering what I might offer as a Holy Imagination of the Annunciation (March 25). And recently I have had conversations and emails with two mothers who have lost an adult child and grieve deeply.
In this message, my heart resonates with these mothers, Giotto’s Lamentation, and the imagination of the Annunciation and the Blessed Womb.
Whether or not you know the mother’s sorrow for yourself, I know you will know someone who lives with this feeling. Share this post with her.
Here are the thoughts on the grief of mothers that came to me…
To suffer means to “bear sorrow.”
To grieve means to “bear the grave sorrow of the death of another or the death of something that meant life and purpose to you.” When you lose your child, you also lose the the part of you whose purpose was to be that child’s mother in life and in so many active ways. How do you mother a dead child?
Imagine the grieving womb, designed to bear life now flooded with the destiny of death. My thoughts here are for all the mother’s who have lost a child of any age. I was conceived in a grieving womb as two years earlier my mother had given birth to a baby girl who only lived for 20 minutes and who she never held in her arms. I have counseled mothers bearing the grief of miscarriage, the grief of not being able to conceive, the grief of stillbirth, and the grief of abortion; those mothers who do not have the comfort of memories and stories about their child.
What are the 4 Ways We Grieve?
There is the grief of the senses: to only perceive via memories the voice, the touch, the way of walking, etc. To keep painting and repainting the portrait of remembered sense impressions, to see them with inner eyes, to hear them with inner ears, to touch them with inner fingers. Wondering do they still see us from wherever they are?
There is the grief of the soul: to not experience the new thoughts, feelings and deeds of the developing and who engaged and influenced your thoughts, feelings and deeds. How can one live without their questions, observations, experiences. And the working with the challenge of the grieving soul’s questions of destiny, fulfillment, karma, and incompletion. Can a life be too short?
There is the grief of rebalancing the sense of self and the sense of future…of finding an upright center that responds to the addition of the weight of sorrow and the sudden absence of the weight of the child’s presence. Rebalancing now that there are only memories and past; the future does not promise new memories.
There is the grief of learning how to include the “self as grieving mother” in your self-awareness. How to wear the veil of sorrow in such a way that the sun can still shine on you for here-and-there moments. It is learning how to stay afloat as waves of shocking, bitter, and sweet emotions sweep over you, sometimes coming straight on, other times swelling up from behind.
What are the 8 Comforts?
There is the comfort of all the stories of your child’s life. Let them warm your heart when grief brings a chill. The ascent from feeling the freeze in your bones, in your whole body, to feeling a weeping thaw, and all the subtle stages leading up to a surprising warmth in your heart. An extra beating in your heart that tells you your child is alive in you. And there is the stages from not smiling at the memories to that first gentle smile, the twinkling in your eyes, a sudden little giggle and then the laugh and delight that the memories have come alive with a new power and suffering can step aside for joy’s appearance.
There is the comfort of nature with the profound cycles of birth, life, death and rebirth. At first, just let the sun, its light and its warmth, remind you of the gift of the light and warmth of of your child. But also let the sun remind you that you will rise from the darkness of grief and peek out from behind the clouds of sorrow.
There is the comfort of prayer and meditation.
There is the comfort of journaling & artistic expression: drawing, painting, collaging to express your grieving emotions.
There is the comfort of movement from the simple rhythm of walking to full expressive dance…let your whole body express your grief.
There is the comfort of sacred conversation with yourself, with your family and friends, with a spiritual mentor. When you choose to have a conversation, choose wisely. You want someone who can witness grief without trying to fix it or make it go away because they are in a right relationship to death and grief. With this kind of loving witness you will not feel quite so alone in the solitude of your grief.
Eventually, there is the comfort of your conversations with your child’s spirit. I have a friend in Australia, who lost her son when he was in his twenties. She gives talks and writes about Mother’s joy and how spiritually she maintains an active communion with her son though he is now across the Threshold of death. Maybe her experience is the transcendent stage of the suffering mother
There is the comfort of knowing there is no clock timing your process. You can take all the time you need. And the grief of the senses, the grief of the soul, and the grief of rebalancing, each has their own timing, rhythm and resolve.
Please share this message with others. Please share your experiences and thoughts on the Mother’s sorrow or the many experiences you have had with grieving any loss.
With much love and tenderness,
Core Imaginations is a leap into the mysterious depths of pure selfhood, the holy solitude where you belong to no one but yourself. It where you choreograph your own sacred dance.
Core Imaginations brings harmony and humor, irony and delight to your soul’s questions and answers. It teaches you how to wonder.
Core Imaginations is not about striving for an ideal, healing trauma, discovering passion, or creating relationship.
Core Imaginations is an education in being human and observing yourself. It is radically new and radically comprehensive. It is inspired and inspiring. Of course, it is rooted in the wisdom of human consciousness but it brings surprises that offer a next step in how we, all human beings, know and love ourselves and others.
Let me share what Core Imaginations has given me.
This is the short list…everyday it grows as I self-reflect.
I am no longer my stories. I am no longer seeking to have my life be about a “better” story, a happier life. Yet, I find much more happiness in being me and living everyday.
I am in my body, in my life with a radically objective enthusiasm…free of self-judgment. I don’t need to change or correct anything. But I can now recognize and name, organize and categorize, evaluate and regulate, sacrifice and evolve the many parts of myself with profound loving interest and discernment.
My heart opened and kindness flowed forth. Core Imaginations did not teach me “how to be” kind. It woke up a gentleness, generosity, and awe for myself and all others.
Forgiveness penetrates my past. Courage penetrates my future.
I’ve learned that happiness lives in time through precious experiences in my life. Wisdom appears in relativity – the constantly changing relationships of Beauty, Goodness and Truth in my soul. Love and Freedom shine in the sudden bolts and flashes of the Absolute in my I.
I am so much closer to myself, in myself, and paradoxically, I am able to step back from myself and shine a light on myself from more distance and less attachment.
I am safe, calm, awake, and nourished by life most of the time.
In working with my ten core images of self, I am in constant movement with a dynamic balance. I no longer cling to rigid identities that require defenses, homeostasis, and a fixed aesthetic.
I have a new understanding of my will and my goals.
I see myself in the four realms of existence: space, time, relativity, the absolute. I experience my self differently in each of these realms and I evolve differently in each of them. Each night I reflect on my experience of self in each realm and I know myself for another day.
I experience the inner joy at the constant movement of the ten core imaginations. I can now see this tenfold movement as a glorious sacred dance. My dance. And free of expectation, I can watch the dance of others and celebrate their unique selfhood (so different from mine.) Can you imagine the joy that brings?
Please join Core Imaginations.
Take the cosmic leap!
Learn the joyful dance!
Lent gives us certain universal questions and a season to work with the questions.
Can I do without? Can I vanquish temptation?
Each Lent we have the opportunity to work with what, how and why.
What do I need to do without? How do I do without? Why do I do without?
What tempts me? How am I tempted? Why am I tempted?
What is vanquished? How do I vanquish? Why do I vanquish?
These questions prompt meaningful thought, journaling, and conversation for the lenten season.
What if we looked at St. Valentine’s Day as a time to explore the mysteries of true love that can only come about through self-love?
I have been romantically in love, deep, passionate, erotic, demanding love enough times to write a pretty juicy memoir of dreams come true, hearts broken, of the slow death of adoration and the growing nightmare of unavoidable boredom. In all these love stories, I was always seeking a sense of myself outside myself. I wanted to be made whole. I wanted to be seen and known but instead of taking the steps to be vulnerable and transparent, I projected all that I wanted to find and know and become in myself on to my lover. And vice versa, I was loved because I could carry their projections.
I now realize the only love that endures the challenges of time is the love that springs from the fulness of self-love. No holes, vacuums, or voids that need to be magically filled by another. Nor do I feel any need to be a filler of holes, vacuums or voids in another. I can just be me, full of self, eager to embrace the fulness of the other just as they are.
Old habits, hormonal leaps and collapses, and the great love scripts and vanities still smell sweet and seduce me, but self-love has strengthened my soul. I am no longer seeking the love found in Hollywood or Hallmark, I am still tempted, and may briefly succumb, but I know the spoilers.
Maya Angelou in all her outrageous wisdom shared it this way:
“I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves and tell me, ‘I love you.’ … There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.”
And let me take Maya’s wisdom further: You cannot love the world, if you don’t first love yourself. You cannot love the unknown future, if you do not love the unknown, unfolding mysteries of your own soul.
I do not want to be a naked person, I want a closet full of shirts!
Through sacred self love our inner attention and activity would be to know the pure sweet joy of self-loving free of should’s, wishes, judgments, and inflations. Neither overvaluing aspects of yourself nor undervaluing them. Neither obsessive fascination with yourself nor anxious avoidance…just self-love as a solid ground and an ennobling goal for meaning, significance and purpose. And the recognition that self-love is the true path to loving all other human beings.
Self-love is not about a passionate, driving desire to adore, possess, or surrender to an object. It does not take hold of you nor promise ecstasy. It is not about falling, but rising. It is not about madness, but sobriety, temperance, and serenity.
Self love is about living at your core, your holy of holies. It is about being observant, about attending to the configuration, complexity, coherence and changes of all that you consist of in your individual expression of being human.
Oh, how love for another soul, for the world, and for the future can flow freely from the fountain of self-love.
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In a couple of days, I will be sending you your invitation to enroll in the Core Imaginations Curriculum, a schooling for self-love.
Meanwhile, contemplate loving yourself, and if you find self-doubt, self-fear, or self-contempt give yourself some flowers, chocolates, essential oils, a beeswax candle and take a nice warm bath. Call on St Valentine to stand behind you and place his hand at the back of your heart and then go to your heart and revisit yourself with loving interest. Put on a shirt and drink from the fountain.
If you still struggle, please schedule a complementary call with me.
In the calendar of the soul we can imagine surrendering to the three days of soul stillness and emptiness that fall between the release of the old inner year and the beginning of the new inner year. This is roughly the time between your Inner Solstice and your Inner Christmas.
We can relate these three soul days to the stillness between an outbreath and an inbreath and the emptiness of the womb between the last menstrual period and the fertiization of the egg at conception.
Stillness opens us to timeless time.
Emptiness opens us to the creative void.
If you have the time, a few minutes will due, during these few very hectic and chock full days of the outer year, open your thoughts and feelings to your sense of sacred stillness and holy emptiness that offer the context for the emergent birth of a new imagination of self.
Those who have a meditative practice will easily embrace stillness and emptiness. If you meditate, notice the profound quiet of these three days.
Here are a few imaginations I have around stillness and emptiness:
For me, stillness and emptiness are the two pillars that form the gateway to the realm of the spirit and the glorious joy of becoming.
They also set the mood of infinite possibility. If I give myself a few moments of stillness and emptiness before I must make a choice or a decision, I will find wisdom. If I do the same before I contemplate a rose, eat a meal, hear a concert, listen to a friend, my perceptions will be clearer and richer.
Stillness and emptiness prepare and weave the context for wisdom, for meaning, for goodness, for aliveness, for creativity. They form the manger of my soul.
If in my soul, stillness and emptiness make love, I will conceive and give birth to a new Self during the Holy Nights.
What are your imaginations?
Be still. Be empty. Great imaginations will be born.
It is a feast for the soul, an opportunity to raise, deepen and broaden consciousness. Perhaps, even to heal, liberate and empower consciousness.
Inspired by my new questions about Inner Advent ( yes, I am always finding new questions), I’ve been spending a lot of time imagining a calendar of my inner year. I feel compelled to design an Imagine Self circular calendar (like the Inner Year Mandala) that visually represents the sacred soul-culitivating seasons and the great festivals of inner development. To this I want to add Soul Feast Days.
I’ll be sharing more about the Imagine Self Calendar project as it develops, but in this post I want to encourage you to think about the soul feast days you would want to celebrate every year. Please post below the person, event, quality, thought, feeling, or activity your soul longs to celebrate, to dedicate your thoughts to one day each year.
You might want to look at the Holy Days of Dedication in the various religions to find inspiration for your soul feast days. The idea would be to seek within your own self the focus of the feast.
It seems to me that inner celebration requires both a wisdom-seeking question and a self-compassionate observation. For example…
Today, in the Catholic Church, is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. It celebrates the conception of a female child whose soul is without original sin because she is destined to give birth to the male child that will redeem the sins of the world.
I like the idea of this feast when I free it from the burden of church dogma and let it live in the realm of universal archetypes of the feminine, the womb, the mother, conception of thought, of feeling, of intention, etc. (As an esoteric Christian and one deeply aroused by the feminine archetype of the Virgin Sophia, this Feast of the Immaculate Conception and all the other Marian Feast Days really call to me.)
Now I can come up with a thousand questions and just as many observations in regard to the archetypes in the image of the Immaculate Conception. Inner overload! But if I choose this as a yearly feast day and therefore know there will be many years when I can feast for a day on these archetypes , each year I can focus on one question and make one observation.
So this year, I will choose the question: What is sin? and I will observe my sense of “stain” (immaculate comes from “without stain.”) in my relationships. And I will write down my thoughts and feelings about my quesiton and my observation. Perhaps I will want to do a painting or write a poem.
I will give this feast 20 minutes of my dedicated attention. Maybe 1 hour. Maybe I will think about it before I go to sleep and in the morning write down what I find concieved in my morning thoughts. Or I will take a walk and think about the question as I move through nature. What are the ways you imagine celebrating, feasting and dedicating?
Create your Soul Feast Days and nourish your sense of self as an extraordinary being.
Choose 12 Soul Feast Days…one for each month. Obviously we could have 365 Soul Feast Days, but start with 12. Perhaps you will choose 3 persons to venerate, 3 qualities to contemplate, 3 feelings to deepen, 3 thoughts to illuminate. (These can change over the years or you can add more.)
Write a paragraph or two on why you want to dedicate a feast day, a holy day of dedication to this person, quality, feeling, thought.
Choose the month and the day for this celebration.
Put it on your calendar.
Buy yourself a journal or sketch book to devote to your Soul Feast Days.
Imagine how you will design and do this inner work regarding amount of time, type of activity, the setting of your celebration. Maybe you will build an altar with certain objects.
Be creative…your devotion to your own soul will make the whole world more beautiful.
I read these two phrases, ambiguous loss and frozen grief, in a recent article in the AARP magazine and felt a part of my soul had found a name.
I speak and write often about the importance of naming. All our feelings need a name. If we can’t give them their true name, we give them our own name and that gets us into serious trouble.
For most of my life, my ambiguous loss and frozen grief I have called Lynn or me or myself. I was the feeling and the feeling was me. I could not separate myself from this feeling.
Naming separates and distinguishes. Naming lets you revere and recognize. Naming must occur before things and feelings and relationships can find their place and become well-organized.
Before the naming of ambiguous loss and frozen grief, they were nameless feelings that lived everywhere like a life-blurring fog and imploding soul clutter. The fog was the loss and the grief – the little pieces of broken heart – was the clutter.
Absent physically, present psychologically or vice versa…it is a trap of ambiguity.
For most of my childhood my father was physically absent, an agonizing void, but he was a huge psychological presence. There was no evidence that I mattered to him, yet I remained fiercely loyal and adoring. I felt he made me special and shaped the great fairytale of my life. I longed for him and longed for myself with enduring patience. I was like him. I was the absent father’s daughter-twin.
He was never there, but he was always there. He never protected me or provided for me, but always was the hero who would someday rescue me and meet all my needs. Most of my life was in suspension, frozen until his return.
All the pieces of the heart of me that his lack of presence shattered, I gathered up and placed in fantasies of our special affinity and hid them away. I froze the daughter’s grief in those fantasies. There is a part of every daughter that can only be nurtured by a father’s active love. I could not grieve the loss of that love, because someday he would appear, shining brightly, and make me whole.
I could never feel the fire of my anger at the abandoning, neglecting father as that would have melted the frozen grief for my unfathered self, the part of me that died when he went away. I thought being the daughter faithful to the hope of the returning father was a great role to play. I didn’t see that it buried so much of all I wanted from life.
I also couldn’t bear the weight of the guilt. I thought that if I ever let go of the psychological father, killed the fantasy, released the longing, that I would be a murderer. That it really was my fault and my life would never ever be lived…no hope.
Grief is a two-fold mystery. There is the grief for the other who has left and the grief for the self that will never be without them. I could not acknowledge either grief – I could not mourn. Frozen grief is the failure to mourn. There was no black to wear, no way to let the world would know I was a fatherless daughter. There was just the blurring fog of ambiguous loss and the clutter of the heart shards, sharp and pointed, lying all over my life: my work, my relationships, my anxieties, my doubts.
In the light and warmth of this naming, I can reflect on the many conversations I have had with my clients and recognize how many have been about taking the ambiguity out of loss and thawing frozen grief. I’ve witnessed the coming alive, the flourishing of self, that follows these conversations.
What loss hides in ambiguity? What grief cannot be felt? What guilt weighs down your lonely innocence? What keeps you from mourning into a new life?
It doesn’t have to be your father. Or your mother. Maybe the ambiguous loss happened later in life through an adult relationship. Maybe through a career.
Frozen grief never ends. Active mourning resolves. You live again
This Michaelmas think about fire breathing dragons that freeze you in ambiguity. Thaw your frozen grief from within. Imagine the warmth of selfhood and the courage of I . The force to name and slay your beasts comes from the the sun within you.
The Archangel Micha-el is the Spirit of Our Times and brings to the human soul a capacity to recognize, name and slay or tame the dragons that dwell in the caves of our soul and our sense of self.
We find in Micha-el the source of light that illuminates the darkness within. But, Micha-el appears in darkness, not above or beyond it. In other words, Micha-el comes to us so we can see ourselves, find the courage of I, in the midst of darkness.
Through my work as a spiritual mentor supporting others as they undertake the activities of finding, knowing, and becoming themselves, and through my own personal self-imagining, I’ve recently come to recognize and name three types of dragons: karma dragons, trauma dragons, and demon dragons. Much of my work with my individual clients is about discerning these three types of obstacles to selfhood and determining how to forge and use the inner sword that brings the strength of Michael to confronting and overcoming karma, trauma and demons.
Let’s discern these dragons.
The Karma Dragons
Karma dragons are the obstacles found in our thoughts and feelings about our inherited selves: the forms and functions of our physical and biological selves and the attitudes and myths of our families and immediate communities. These innate dragons are so tough to see and tougher to slay. These karma dragons are the ones that form our false selves and then defend these distorted identities against the freedom that comes with a a growing, evolving sense of selfhood.
The biggest problem with karma dragons is that they look like us, or like mommy or daddy, so slaying them feels like a crime against the self and all that defines us. It feels that if we slay them everything will die and there will be no I.
The Trauma Dragons
Trauma dragons are the events of our lives that take a part of our souls and freeze them in suspended animation. Suspended animation is the slowing or stopping of life processes by outer or inner means without termination.
“Without termination” of life, yet no capacity to live. Have you seen any of the zombie movies??? Have you wondered why young people find the image of zombies so intriguing?
Trauma dragons are the ones that have taken away the life of your soul, usually just parts of your soul. They keep you from feeling any vibrant warmth or enthused engagement for your work, your relationships, your personal goals. These are the dragons that “scare the life out of you.”
Trauma dragons can be great loss, great inflating success or devastating failure, sexual, emotional, or spiritual abuse, a physical illness or accident. I’ve had my share of battles with trauma demons…and brought new life to the zombie bits of my soul. You can, too.
The Demon Dragons
Finally, the nasty little demon dragons. These soul vermin attack our thoughts, our feelings, and our acts of will and turn them into rigid thoughts, robotic habits and toxic reactions. They are cancerous. A demon dragon finds a single thought, feeling or deed and attacks it, not to devour it but to corrupt it. One corrupt thought, feeling or behavior then begins to grow and metastasize throughout our soul. Demon dragons are the enemies of moral development.
And they are so little. Karma dragons look like us but are large, dramatic, and so familiar. Trauma dragons range in size and make a lot of pain and though they may hide, once out in the open they are easily recognized and can be overcome. But the little demons are like fleas and gnats, too small to be seen.
Typing Your Dragons & The Courage of I
The moment you can type a dragon: karma, trauma, demon, you will find a light, a warmth, a tone, and a force entering your soul. This is the Micha-elic courage of I.
When you take up the Michaelic task of naming and slaying your personal dragons, there is much benefit in having conversations that both support and guide you in your work. You are the only one who can free yourself from your dragons, no one and no being can do this for you, not even Micha-el. Micha-el bring the light of the Sun and conversations can encourage your courage of I.
Use these distinctions in your moments of self-reflection – your dragon hunts. See if they don’t help you in your dragon-spotting and dragon-slaying. Michaelmas is the soul season for this courageous work of facing your karma, your trauma, your demons.
I am going somewhere and I’m excited. And I am finally wise enough to know I will get there in good time.
“Good time” is not “on time.” “Good time” indicates the process and the journey were successful. “On time” is an expectation and a commitment that places value in meeting a schedule rather than living a life.
“Good time” is not always fun time or happy time. Good time is productive, creative, generative time filled with meaning, significance, purpose and effective surprises.
Now I keep appointments with other people… rarely early, sometimes late, usually close to the moment. But I am not great at keeping appointments with myself and my work. (Yes, this is another version of time for yourself. There are so many ways to look at our relationship to time.)
My mind is almost always in the fast lane. My will is almost always in a traffic jam. My mind arrives too early, my will too late. All in good time. Good time is a feeling that slows down my mind and speeds up my will.
Right now my life needs a parking valet who knows just where all my projects are parked. I tend to just jump out of a project leaving the engine running and find another project with its motor running. I never seem to be able to turn the key off and put the project in park, let alone find a parking space. Yes, a valet would be great.
Metaphors really help me get to my truth. If I use this parking valet metaphor, I can play with that role. I love the way a valet can look at a wall of keys and grab the right ones as he runs off to get the car. Then he jumps out of the car, holds the door while I get in and smiles as he closes the door and sends me off. Just what I need as I go from one project to the next.
My inner valet!
Look at your sense of the fast lane. How many traffic jams are you caught in? Do you have a parking lot for your projects?
If you have kids, do you have the sense that there is no brake, that even down shifting seems impossible? I watch my daughter struggle with the feeling that her son dances between grabbing the steering wheel and dancing on the accelerator.
Maybe when it comes to your life, you need to get out of first gear, or you are caught on a track that just loops and loops, or you are running out of gas?
Use all these car metaphors and discover whats going on in your life. And share them in a comment, please.
What if we each had a GPS system, where we could type in the destination of our destiny and suddenly a voice, divine or mechanical, would start leading us step-by-step. I can go for this. Actually, all the Imagine Self courses are a kind of GPS for self-awareness.
It just took me a couple of seconds to type those three little words for a great big thought, a huge longing, and a very complex set of possibilities.
What do I want “time for myself” for? What is the longing for and what are the possibilities about?
It’s been about ten minutes since I took those few seconds to type “Time for myself.” and I’ve filled those minutes with questions and more thoughts about what this special time is for.
Do I “take” time for myself? Do I ask for time for myself? Do I give myself time for myself?
How much time for myself do I need? If I don’t get time for myself what happens to me?
Most of my time is for duty, obligation, necessity, common sense, habit and survival.
Time for myself is about the extraordinary and the exceptional, even the exotic.
Time for myself is about freedom…freedom to indulge and freedom to develop.
I find time for myself to be fulfilling, deeply fulfilling, whether it is about indulgence or development, requires forethought, planning and focus. A whim or impulse here and there can be a sweet surprise but intentional time, designed time is truly nourishing.
I also must share my struggle with the shadows of not taking time for myself. I have felt such guilt and shame and grief over my stillborn dreams of time for myself. And I have felt anger at others, at myself, at life for not giving me permission, not giving me the circumstances for time for myself. And I have let opportunities slip by.
I also realize that distraction is not time for myself. It’s time away from myself. I believe in distraction. It is the necessary breather. Sure, distraction can be an avoider, but most of the time distraction is a rest and renewal that let’s me get back on task. I’ve spent years feeling I was weak and undisciplined if I didn’t maintain focus and attention. I no longer have distraction guilt. I need distraction and use it elegantly enough of the time. (No one’s perfect.) But distraction is time away, not time for!
Sometimes distraction is a meandering google glide or a conversation with a friend or a sudden urge to vacuum the living room. Once I stopped buying into the “distraction is a diagnosis” beliefs of our times, and realized that for me I distract when I get over-stimulated by my work and need to have a break to come back to center. Breaks can be productive or silly, as long as they restore me to a state of balance and equanimity so I can return to my work.
How do you feel about distraction?
Indulgence is about pleasure and delight. It is about the senses, getting lost in touch or sound, taste or sight. I love having things done to me…a pedicure, a massage. It is about going beyond necessity.
Everyday I take a bath, which is an indulgence, it is also a habit and a necessity (I do need to get clean, however a shower would be quicker.) but the everyday bath is not a conscious indulgence, it is a routine indulgence. To make it conscious, I would need to set the mood, delight my senses in beautiful ways…scents, candles, music, a special towel, a glass of wine. It would be an art, well-designed. And I would surrender to the reality as much or more than I surrendered to its fantasy. I would embrace the fulfillment as I embraced the longing for fulfillment.
Then there is the wonderful conscious indulgence of nature. Time to see the all the greens, watch the clouds roll by, hear the stream trickle, watch the squirrel run through the tree and be all alone, the conscious indulgence of surrendering to nature for a time.
As I write this post, I am realizing I need to give myself time for writing a poem. I feel so nurtured when I write a poem. I think a poem at least once a week. I write a poem maybe twice a year. Do you ever take time for your poet self?
We each need to give ourselves the time to make a list of indulgences that would be time for self. And then choose the ones that we are willing to consciously design and manifest. And then we should let the others go.
When will you give yourself the time to consider your well-deserved conscious indulgences?
Development awakens and refines talents in areas that you find stimulating and soothing. You feel more alive and more like the you you want to be inwardly to yourself and appear outwardly to others. Usually you seek this development through learning and practicing.
And what are your motives for development? You have need to excel and win or perfect and prove your worth. Or you want to feel better, do better, or know better. You want to expand, deepen, enliven, enrich or express yourself intellectually, creatively, practically, spiritually or morally. You want to heal and become whole, You want to be free and in the moment of your experience. You want to be empowered gracefully.
With development you take time for yourself to read books/blogs, take courses, attend retreats, establish practices (from knitting, to running to gardening to opera to meditation) and these stretch you beyond pleasure. You seek out teachers, therapists, coaches, mentors, spiritual paths and leaders. You have deep conversations. You experience what you have longed for and dreamed about. You also form a right relationship to limitations.
Conscious development is about becoming more you. Give yourself time to become yourself.
How do you imagine your conscious development? Take some time for yourself and this question.
I write these thoughts as an act of my own conscious development. When I chose this topic, I didn’t have very clear thoughts on “time for myself.” In writing these paragraphs over a few days, I’ve gotten clearer, but I have also awakened many more questions. Conscious development is an unending journey.
Conscious indulgence is an event, not an unending journey.
Conscious indulgence offers pleasure. Conscious development will be painful, work, and full of devotion. Be passionate about both.
Need help with shaping time for yourself? Book yourself 20 complimentary minutes with me and we will work miracles and get very practical:
My related blog post on self-comforting.